Introduction. The river floods of different origin and inundations connected with them cause more economic damage in Ukraine than any other natural disasters. The experience of floods of the last years indicated a number problems in the flood management and showed that the existing flood risk management system does not meet the increased requirements of different categories of users regarding the accuracy and timeliness of warnings as well as the quantitative estimation of socio-economic vulnerability to floods. This paper deals with the experience in designing and operating the Early Flood Warning and Decision Support System (EFWDSS) as the essential informational component of the national system for the natural hazards risk management.
Methodology and materials. EFWDSS was developed by the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute in the cooperation with the State Service of Ukraine for Emergencies in the frames of: a) the National Program of Protection of Population from Technogenic and Natural Emergencies; b) the Strategy of Development of Hydrometeorological Activities in Ukraine. The author was among the developers of these documents. Results of the study of existing risk assessment and management methods of weather-related hazards as well as the new scientific and technological achievements in the hydrometeorology are basis of EFWDSS.
Results. The existing conception of separate development of each component of EWDSS was reconsidered, and the integrated approach "From sensors to decision-making” was proposed. According to this approach, the flood risk management is based on a use of the comprehensive end-to-end service delivery which includes many stakeholders. It brings changes in all stages of pre- and past disaster activities: risk analysis, public awareness and preparations, education and training, minimization of loss of life, property and environment.
EFWDSS includes the technical and management parts. The technical part consists of: a) hydrometeorological measurement network, data storage and real-time transmission; b) GIS database which is coupled with electronic maps for a hazard’s risk assessment; c) forecasting and warning; d) hazard risk assessment on different temporal and spatial scales; e) multi-hazards database; f) submitting information and warnings to the users on the national, regional and local levels. The management part includes: a) planning and control of communication among stakeholders; b) education and training programs for staff of different agencies and general public.
The practice of the flood risk management during 2014-2015 confirmed the effectiveness of EFWDSS. It helped the hazard management authorities to: a) identify the hazard risk level, including, the possible social, economic and environmental damages; b) determine the best protection measures on the basis of continuous monitoring, forecasting and warning of extreme weather-related events.
On the other hand, in an operation of this system have been identified a number of problems that can be divided into: legal, institutional, technological and educational issues. The recommendations to address these shortcomings were developed and submitted to the Government of Ukraine.
The advantages and problems of the practical operation of EFWDSS are considered in this paper in details. The scientific and practical experiences gained in the development of EFWDSS can be used in developing other similar systems